Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company announces the National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere of Peter Sinn Nachtrieb’s The Totalitarians, a high-energy political comedy

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April 24, 2014


Press Contact: Michael Love


Communications Coordinator




[email protected]




















(Washington, DC) Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company announces the National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere of Peter Sinn Nachtrieb’s The Totalitarians, a high-energy political comedy. The play explores the vacuous double-speak we invent for political gain and how this language insinuates itself into our everyday lives, relationships, and culture. Nachtrieb’s work was last seen at Woolly with Season 29’s Boom (2008), which went on to become the most widely produced new play in the country. Woolly Company Member and Andrew W. Mellon Playwright in Residence Robert O’Hara—the playwright and director of Season 31’s Bootycandy (2011) and the playwright of Season 29’s Helen Hayes Award winning Antebellum (2009)—will direct.




The Totalitarians follows Francine, the ambitious speechwriter for a rich housewife’svanity campaign for public office, who has stumbled upon pure gold: a perfectly patriotic slogan. Even though it is totally meaningless and her doctor husband disapproves, Francine quickly realizes that with this slogan, she can turn the campaign around and make her unpredictable, gaffe-prone candidate electrifyingly powerful—and finally, just maybe, get herself out of Nebraska.




The Totalitarians marks the return to Woolly Mammoth of one of our favorite playwrights, Peter Sinn Nachtrieb, author of the acclaimed international hit, Boom,” says Woolly Artistic Director Howard Shalwitz. “The freight-train plot focuses on one of Washington’s favorite topics—the fabrication of political rhetoric. But, the play’s deeper subject is the connection between the secret lies told in the bedroom and the public lies told on the stump.”




Director Robert O’Hara will lead a cast which includes Woolly Company Members Emily Townley* (Detroit, A Bright New Boise) and  Dawn Ursula* (We Are Proud to Present…, recipient of the 2013 Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress, Resident Play for her role in The Convert) and noted actors Nick Loumos* and Sean Meehan* (Civilization (all you can eat), Bootycandy).




On the evening of Tuesday, July 24, Woolly will host a special benefit performance: WHITE HOUSE GHOSTS: An Evening with Presidential Speechwriters from Bush Sr. to Obama. Patrons attending this special benefit evening will have the opportunity to mix and mingle with former presidential speechwriters: Mary Kate Cary for President George H.W. Bush; Noam Neusner for President George W. Bush; Jeff Shesol for President Clinton; and Adam Frankel for President Obama. Veteran reporter Robert Schlesinger—author of White House Ghosts: Presidents and their Speechwriters—will moderate a panel discussion following a performance of The Totalitarians. The evening will culminate with a reception for patrons to meet-and-greet these distinguished guests. Tickets for this special benefit performance begin at $75, and will be on sale at woollymammoth.net beginning Monday, April 28.






Peter Sinn Nachtrieb (Playwright) is a San Francisco-based playwright whose works include Boom (TCG’s most produced play 2009-10), BOB (2011 Humana Festival for New American Plays at Actor’s Theatre of Louisville, Barrie and Bernice Stavis Award), T.I.C. (Trenchcoat In Common), Hunter Gatherers (2007 ATCA/Steinberg New Play Award, 2007 Will Glickman Prize), Colorado, and Litter: The True Story of the Framingham Dodecutuplets. His work has been seen off-Broadway and across the country including at Ars Nova, SPF, Woolly Mammoth, Seattle Repertory, Actors Theatre of Louisville, San Diego Rep, and in the Bay Area at A.C.T., Encore Theatre, Killing My Lobster, Marin Theatre Company, Impact Theatre, and The Bay Area Playwrights Festival. Currently he’s working on Fall Springs: A Musical Disaster. Peter holds a degree in Theater and Biology from Brown and an MFA in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University. Peter is a member of New Dramatists and is the Andrew W. Mellon Playwright in Residence at the Z Space Studio in San Francisco. Visit www.peternachtrieb.com to learn more.




Robert O’Hara (Director) recently released his film writing and directing debut, The Inheritance. He is the recipient of the 2010 NAACP Best Director Award for his direction of Eclipsed by Danai Gurira, the 2010 Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding New Play for Antebellum, and an OBIE Award for his direction of the World Premiere of the critically acclaimed In The Continuum at Primary Stages. He wrote and directed the World Premiere of Insurrection: Holding History at the New York Shakespeare Festival, which received the Oppenheimer Award for Best New American Play and was subsequently published by both TCG and Dramatist Play Service. He directed the World Premiere of Brother/Sister Plays (Part 2), a co-production at McCarter Theater/ New York Shakespeare Festival. Recent stage directing credits include Tough Titty at Magic Theater, Eclipsed at CTG/Kirk Douglas Theater, A Life In The Theater at Alliance Theater, and Brother Size at City Theater. Recent productions of his plays include Etiquette of Vigilance during the 2010 Steppenwolf First Look Festival, Good Breeding at ACT/Zeum, and Bootycandy (also under his direction) at Woolly. He is currently an Adjunct Professor at NYU/TISCH School of the Arts. Visit www.robertohara.com to learn more.




Woolly Company Member and Helen Hayes Award winner Misha Kachman (We Are Proud to Present…, Stupid Fucking Bird, The Convert) will design the set and fellow Woolly Company Member and three-time Helen Hayes Award winner Colin K. Bills (We Are Proud to Present…, Appropriate, Detroit, Stupid Fucking Bird) will light The Totalitarians. Costume designer Frank Labovitz, Sound Designer Lindsay Jones, Video Designer Jared Mezzocchi, Dramaturg Kirsten Bowen (Woolly’s Literary Manager), and Production Stage Manager William Cruttenden III* will complete the creative team.




*Member, Actor’s Equity Association






The Totalitarians runs June 2, 2014 to June 29, 2014, with performances Wednesday-Friday at 8pm, Saturday at 3pm and 8pm, (Saturday, June 7 at 8pm only), and Sunday at 2pm and 7pm (Sunday, June 8 at 7pm only).  Monday, June 2 and Tuesday, June 3 will be Pay What You Can performances and will begin at 8pm.






June 2, 2014: Pay What You Can performance at 8pm


June 3, 2014: Pay What You Can performance at 8pm


June 4, 2014: Preview performance at 8pm


June 5, 2014: Preview performance at 8pm


June 6, 2014: Opening and Press Night performance at 8pm


June 7, 2014: Performance at 8pm


June 8, 2014: Performance at 7pm


June 11, 2014: Performance at 8pm


June 12, 2014: Performance at 8pm


June 13, 2014: Performance at 8pm


June 14, 2014: Performances at 3pm and 8pm


June 15, 2014: Performances at 2pm and 7pm


June 18, 2014: Performance at 8pm


June 19, 2014: Performance at 8pm


June 20, 2014: Performance at 8pm


June 21, 2014: Performances at 3pm and 8pm


June 22, 2014: Performances at 2pm and 7pm


June 24, 2014: Special Benefit Performance at 8pm: WHITE HOUSE GHOSTS: An Evening with Presidential Speechwriters from Bush Sr. to Obama


June 25, 2014: Performance at 8pm


June 26, 2014: Performance at 8pm


June 27, 2014: Performance at 8pm


June 28, 2014: Performances at 3pm and 8pm


June 29, 2014: Performances at 2pm and 7pm






Friday, June 6, 2014 will be Opening and Press Night and the performance that evening will begin at 8pm. Please contact Communications Coordinator Michael Love at [email protected] to RSVP. 






Tickets to The Totalitarians start at $35 and can be purchased online at woollymammoth.net, by phone at (202) 393-3939, via email at [email protected], or in person at the Box Office, located at 641 D Street NW.




Patrons who are 30-years-old and younger may, at any time, purchase Section B tickets for $20 to any performance. There are also discounts available for first responder men and women and active US military personnel, spouses, and veterans. More information is available at woollymammoth.net.








Twitter: @WoollyMammothTC #Woolly34 #WOOLLYtarians






The National New Play Network (NNPN) is an alliance of not-for-profit professional theatres that champions the development, production, and continued life of new plays for the American theatre.  The Network’s 27 Core Member Theatres and 25 Associate Member Theatres strive to pioneer, implement, and disseminate ideas and programs that revolutionize the way theatres collaborate to support new plays and playwrights. NNPN was founded in 1998 with the belief that new play development in the next generation should be regionalized by linking producing and developmental theatres around the country with their playwriting communities.  NNPN’s flagship program, the Continued Life of New Plays Fund, achieves this aim by supporting three or more theatres which choose to mount the same new play within a twelve-month period. The result is a “Rolling World Premiere” through which the playwright develops a new work with at least three different creative teams, for three different communities of patrons, ensuring the resulting play is of the highest possible quality.  Since the program’s inception in 2005, more than 40 plays have received NNPN Rolling World Premieres, garnering hundreds of additional productions outside the Fund across the country and around the world. Through the Fund and its other programs, NNPN has granted over a million dollars to theatres and artists across the country.






Now in its 34th Season, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company continues to hold its place at the leading edge of American theatre. Acknowledged as “one of the most influential outposts for the best new American plays” (The Washington Post), and “known for its productions of innovative new plays” (The New York Times), Woolly Mammoth is a national leader in the development of new works, and one of the best known and most influential mid-sized theatres in America.




Woolly Mammoth’s Season 34, entitled “America’s Tell-Tale Heart,” is slated to be one of the Theatre’s most diverse, adventurous, and provocative seasons to date. With works by some of America’s bravest playwrights, Woolly Mammoth will tear up the planks, smash through the facade, and drill down into the core to expose the complex soul inside America’s sunny exterior. The season includes Lisa D’Amour’s Detroit (September 9–October 6, 2013), Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ Appropriate (November 4–December 1, 2013), Jackie Sibblies Drury’s We Are Proud To Present… (February 10–March 9, 2014), Elevator Repair Service’s Arguendo (March 31–April 20, 2014), and Peter Sinn Nachtrieb’s The Totalitarians (June 2–29, 2014), as well as a holiday offering of The Pajama Men—Shenoah Allen and Mark Chavez—and their newest show, Just the Two of Each of Us (Dec 10, 2013–Jan 5, 2014).








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Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company




641 D Street, NW


Washington, DC  20004


Administration: 202-289-2443


Box Office: 202-393-3939



twitter @WoollyMammothTC

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